Life Crafting Role Models: Jeanette

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It’s Thursday and I’m Crafting my Life! July’s theme is looking to our role models. Because other people have walked this path before, and we can learn from them. In the past two weeks I talked to Andrea Gregg-Aylott and Sue Sinclair. This week I’m talking to Jeanette Miller, Principal of Limelite PR, a firm that focuses on working with clients and agencies to build strong mom-focused PR strategies. She helped organize the “Harnessing the Power of Digital Mums” panel that I was on, and she works with a lot of mom bloggers. Read on to hear what Jeanette had to say.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background?
I’m a mom of 2 girls (age 3 and 7), wife/sister/daughter and the owner of Limelite PR – the only PR firm in Canada wholly focused on the mom market. I’ve been in PR for close to 15 years, with a large portion of my career’s foundation spent in the film and beauty/lifestyle industry.

How did you decide to start your own business?
I’ve spent most of my career as a contractor so I guess I’ve always had a business. I started as a PA (production assistant) for the film industry, worked in PR, promotions and sponsorships for the Vancouver Film Festival for 7 month contracts for 3 consecutive years, had a stint managing marketing and PR for a beauty company and then eventually worked full-time for Alliance Atlantis and Odeon Films as their West Coast Manager of PR & Promotions. Limelite started after I went on maternity leave from Alliance Atlantis; we moved from Vancouver to Victoria (my hometown) and I was offered two contracts (working remotely for Vancouver-based clients) when my daughter was 10 months old. After a few years as a contractor I realized that I wanted to go beyond just working solo so I launched Limelite and started hiring people to work with me.

What led you to public relations, specifically?
It’s been a long and winding path, but also an evolution that makes sense upon reflection. PR is a natural fit and I think it really found me. In high school I was the organizer and peacemaker, I went to college and studied psychology, I left Victoria to study acting (living in London, UK for a couple years), came back to Victoria to get a diploma in Applied Communications (studying radio, tv, print production), and moved back to Vancouver to pursue opportunities to apply my communications diploma and my PR career blossomed from there.

What I now see is that the skills I’ve amassed all contribute to the public relations process – event planning, understanding human behaviour, being comfortable in front of the public or on camera, media production.

What I love about PR is the opportunity to develop relationships and be creative. It is also constantly changing based on technology and individual habits so it’s a challenging career that continues to pushes me to go beyond my comfort level.

You are one busy mama. How do you juggle all your different commitments?
I schedule everything but honestly, I’m also flying by the seat of my pants too. I organize everything in the house so when I go away I leave a lot of lists for my husband and we have calendars everywhere. My youngest is in daycare 4 days a week and I work most (but not all) evenings for a few hours. Weekends are family time but I have been known to bow out of going to the park so I can get a little bit of work done. I also don’t schedule a lot of activities for the girls so we can have our downtime but I’m sure that will change as their interests change.

What are the upsides, for you, of running a business?
Flexibility and the people I work with.

I am the person that stays home when the kids are sick and that alone, is priceless.

For the most part, I can choose when and how I work and who I work with, which is a nice position to be in. I surround myself with people I want to work with so that everyday is exciting and a true pleasure.

Is there anything that you wish you had known before starting out?
I honestly can’t think of anything because I’ve been very aware of the fact that finding your own work takes a lot of effort and there are lots of ups and downs.

What is the biggest challenge you face in balancing your family with everything else?
Travelling and mom guilt is currently my biggest challenge. I have had to travel more often in the past 6 months and in that time period, we are also trying to potty train our youngest. Every time I go away, she takes a giant leap backwards and of course the mom guilt kicks in. But I also know that mom guilt helps me keep things in perspective as to what’s truly important – my family.

What would you like bloggers, and blog readers, to know about PR?
PR is about building relationships – not about spin or hype. When someone makes the concerted effort, takes the time to listen, reflects on what’s said, and responds honestly – that is good public relations.

You work with a lot of mom entrepreneurs. From your perspective, what should other moms know about entrepreneurship before they start down that path?
Entrepreneurship requires a lot of patience and perseverance. I think we all underestimate the amount of time, energy and financial struggle we will go through in developing our own business.

I am part of a small business/entrepreneur support group and it’s very common to hear, “If I don’t start making more money, I may have to give this up…but I don’t know what else I would do.” We all know that success won’t come overnight but behind it all, you need to decide what is truly motivating you to keep going.

No matter what business you are in, as an entrepreneur you have to do everything – sales, accounting, administration, leadership/management, process building, implementation, etc. Despite the opportunity to have a flexible work schedule (for instance), running your own business is a lot more work and harder work than if you just went to an employer each day and received a guaranteed paycheque.

So make sure what you are doing is important to you. Be passionate about what you are doing but also be realistic about the amount of time and effort it will take.

Is there anything else that you would like to share about making your business and life work together?
Whatever you are doing in the moment, be it working or spending time with your kids – give it 100% of your attention and energy. In the end, you will be more productive if you work when the kids aren’t around and your kids will be much happier if they don’t think they are fighting for your attention while you check your Blackberry. There are definitely times when I break this rule but overall I think it’s better for all of us if we separate work life from family life.

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Thanks so much for talking to me, Jeanette!

July’s Crafting my Life series is about our role models. On the last Thursday of the month, which just happens to be the 29th, I will include a link up. To participate, write a post on this month’s theme anytime in July, or track down a post you’ve written on the subject sometime in the past, and add yourself to the list. Then read everyone else’s ideas and thoughts and be inspired! Check out the link-ups from January, February and March to get a feel for how it works.

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    Comments

    1. Wow–I am so impressed! Thanks for highlighting such an amazing woman. Much to be inspired about.
      Hillary’s last post … hillaryboucher- Sun is shining Baby is sleeping Grandparents are entertaining the busy boys Please pause this momentMy Profile

    2. Loved this post about Jeanette! Thanks for sharing ;-)
      Wendy Irene’s last post … Cheddar BBQ MuffinsMy Profile

    3. Great article! Jeannette is awesome isn’t she?

    4. This truly could not have come at a better time. I am constantly in panic mode these days after realizing that I’m starting a real, brick n mortar business, with a Tax ID number, bank account, and everything. So far, things are going better than I ever expected, but in some ways, I’m still terrified every moment that we’re about to lose all of our savings and end up homeless. My husband (for the first time in his entire life) is NOT worried, and thinks it’s all going to be fine. But I have been up all hours of the night for the past 3 weeks trying to ensure that I’m doing everything humanly possible to make this as successful as it can be. Other people around me say “Wow, you’re working so hard on this!” and I say “Um – DUH – I have to pay rent!!!!”

      That’s a totally incoherent, disjointed comment, but suffice to say I really need to hear from other women who’ve started businesses – and lived to tell about it. Sometimes I think I have simply gone certifiably insane.
      TheFeministBreeder’s last post … Jonas Does the Dresden DollsMy Profile

    5. Word. Especially that last bit about focusing 100% on what you are doing at the moment. My kids are fine with me escaping to my studio garage for two hours but if I so much as open my laptop in front of them? Not happy, and it isn’t fair to them. Having clear separations are key to making it work for me and I often fail at this much to the stress of everyone.
      AmberDusick’s last post … the first two things I ever made in ceramicsMy Profile

    6. I love this segment you’ve been doing! It’s a good thing to peek in our role models and see how they fared, or what they have to say about their personal journeys. It’s (dare I say it?) inspirational. Well done.
      Laura’s last post … To Infinity &amp Beyond!My Profile

    7. Nice interview. And it was cool to see you featured on BlogHer!
      Lady M’s last post … Home Again- Home AgainMy Profile

    8. This…”So make sure what you are doing is important to you. Be passionate about what you are doing but also be realistic about the amount of time and effort it will take.”…is key to me. I often can garner the passion but I am not realistic on the time management front. It’s a key to burn-out in my opinion and doesn’t lead to success. I must be more realistic.

      Great interview, Amber and Jeanette!
      Marilyn’s last post … How to Stop Dress Slippage- Wednesday of Few WordsMy Profile

    9. Very nice interview (and great photos of Jeanette!). I can totally relate to the work vs family life issue: unfortunately my husband’s job doesn’t allow that separation most of the times, and it’s created many problems.
      Francesca’s last post … The best coffeeMy Profile

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    Trackbacks

    1. […] of her topics recently has been ‘Role Models’.  She interviewed a few of the GREAT women that she has been getting to know and I realized that being that I consider her a role model […]

    2. […] Jeanette Miller of Limelite PR via email in July of 2010. You can read what she had to say in Life Crafting Role Models: Jeanette. At the time, I was most interested in what she had to say about balance. Since then, though, my […]

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